VAX/VMS & NCBI's _Entrez_

David Lapointe lapointe at THORIN.UTHSCSA.EDU
Mon May 10 14:26:56 EST 1993


On 10 May 1993 12:05:10 -0500 (CDT), Steve Thompson wrote:

>
>RIGHT ON! Reinhard!!!
>
>Thompson:  ... Yet few of our users have X-window server software on their
>machines,  furthermore, many of our users ONLY have access to text or at most
>Tek graphics terminals.  Has anybody developed a text only interface to
>_Entrez_ ?
>
>Pearson:  It is hard to believe that there are more terminals than Windows
>compatible PC's at many universities today.  No, nor should they [in re: to my
>question]. 
>
Even for those with network connects, there will be the haves and have nots.
If you consider those using telnet on their personal computers, using 
terminal emulation to connect to central computers there certainly are more 
of those here than running Windows currently. I am not sure why a GUI is 
needed for ENTREZ except that is what the software(NCBI) is geared 
towards currently. If there were a "pay as you go" interface then everyone 
could be served. WAIS, Gopher, WWW work this way.

Some of you might have seen the ATLAS CD-ROM from the NBRF (PIR, Swiss 
Prot, GenBank). This uses a point and shoot character-cell based interface 
to navigate. It works great. It could use a scrollable text box interface 
to browse the hits up and down. A TBUI (text based user interface) 
would be perfectly acceptable AND FAST. There is a network version of this 
being tested and it is much faster across Internet than doing it from a 
CDROM. The DOS version of the client uses WATTCP (a public domain TCP/IP 
library) and public domain drivers. Very cost effective. It too could use a 
TBUI.

With WINDOWS the ante is greater. The WINDOWS ENTREZ will initially use PC-
NFS or NETMANAGE, later WINSOCK. Right now there is no PD WINSOCK. maybe 
there will be soon. NCSA is reported to be working on a WINDOWS TELNET that 
may or may not use WINSOCK. They have their own *.DLLs right now. If the 
NetENTREZ came out with a WINSOCK interface this could help out. But you 
still need that class of machine ( > 386sx) to do use it.

I would rather see a NetENTREZ appear now for platforms which work than to 
wait for everything to come out at once. I have to vote twice on this 
issue. Once for the USERS for whom I provide support who don't have 
resources to spend on workstation technology but need access to a variety 
of services. I also have to vote for the technology. Today we have text, 
tomorrow maybe graphical alignments of neighboring sequences. Who knows?

>Doelz:Despite my believe that a GUI is what all biologists should have it is a
>severe mistake to neglect all non-X or non-ethernetted biologists.  A certain
>fraction doesn't even have access to the central facility  but need to walk (or
>even travel) to get to a place where a access point is on the desktop. So lests
>behave as generous as possible and stick  to also line-oriented interfaces.
>

Maybe we need to take the middle road on this.


 .david
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